Dickerson Center Boys & Girls Club holds grand opening
BY JAMES HARPER
Lime green, black, blue, teal, grey, orange, red and gold.
Those were the colors of the T-shirts hundreds of youth from across Volusia and Flagler County wore Monday at the John H. Dickerson Center during the official grand opening of the Daytona Beach Boys & Girls Club. The club relocated to the center this summer.
It was a celebration as the kids competed against each other in such games as tug of war. They also received encouraging words from invited guests.
Those attending included members from the Rymfire Club, Flagler County; Rossmeyer Family, Holly Hill Club; John H. Dickerson Center Club, Daytona Beach; New Smyrna Beach Club; Edgewater Club; Harris Saxon Club, Deltona; Lake Helen Club; and Bright House/Spring Hill Club.
Daytona Beach City Commissioner Paula Reed led the kids in a cheer, telling them to repeat after her: “I am somebody. I can be what I want to be. I can do what I want to do. Because I am somebody.’’
More motivational words
Educator and motivational speaker Dr. Willie Kimmons followed Reed’s lead and told them to also repeat after him.
“Study hard, stay in school, obey your parents and grandparents, say no to drugs, say no to crime, say no to strangers, say no to sex, study hard, stay in school,” Kimmons said.
Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry also had motivational words for the youth.
“We support you, believe in you. Be all you can be. (We’re) counting on you to be leaders of tomorrow,” Henry said.
Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler Council CEO Joe Sullivan paid tribute to the Rev. Carl Brinkley, former executive director of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority.
“You are one of the reasons we are here today. Brinkley put me on the spot to do the right thing,” noted Sullivan about Brinkley, who for 14 years allowed the Boys & Girls Club to rent one of his units in Palmetto Park to house their organization.
Georgia Williams, the director of the newly named Dickerson Center club, who was the director at Palmetto, said she was reluctant at first to make the move to the Dickerson Center.
“That was home. Old people don’t like to change. Thus far it has been a wonderful experience,” she said.
Other invited guests included: Pamela Peer, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Director K-12 Education Outreach; Carl Lenz, city commissioner of Daytona Beach Zone 2; Joie Alexander, retired Volusia County councilmember; Candace Lankford, Volusia County School Board Vice Chair District 1; Josh Wagner, Volusia County Council District 2 representative; Judge Judith Davidson, Seventh Judicial Circuit; Edie Little, State Senator Dorothy Hukill’s assistant and Public Defender James Purdy; Molly Justice, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Director of Communications; David Lau, Popeye’s CEO; Ron Nowviskie, retired property manager; Bruce Teeters, retired vice president of Real Estate Consolidated Tomoka; Ed Lacey, retired Ford dealership owner; along with the Rev. Carl Brinkley and his wife, Emma Brinkley.
Popeye’s provided food for the event.
Daytona Beach approved a lease agreement this summer with the Boys & Girls Club for a five-year term at an annual rate of $12,600 at the John H. Dickerson Center.
Beginning June 10, the Boys & Girls Club moved its entire operation from the Whitney Street location to the Dickerson Center.
The agreement allows the Boys and Girls Club exclusive use of the south end of the Dickerson Center, which is now currently vacant and unused, according to a memo sent from Leisure Services Director Percy Williamson to City Manager Jim Chisholm.
“The Boys & Girls Club agrees to establish, operate, manage and staff a first-rate facility providing youth programs and services to the Daytona Beach community, including after school, summer and evening programs a minimum of five days a week, four hours per day, 11 months a year,” Williamson wrote.
Williamson said the “lease and overall collaborative agreement will not adversely affect the current leisure services programming or rentals being held at the remaining portion of this vast facility.
“This partnership allows us to better serve the community by expanding access to programming and pool resources,” Williamson added.